Services for International Customers
What is it?
Third-party package forwarding services allow international customers to
purchase from businesses in the United States and have the packages shipped to a
U.S. address. They usually include consolidation services that combine multiple
shipments and forward them to an international address as one shipment. Some
forwarding companies also provide repackaging services, calculation of customs
clearance, duties and taxes and payment in US currency. Forwarding services are
particularly useful when purchasing from U.S. businesses that do not ship to
international addresses or do not accept international currencies.
> Consolidation from Multiple VendorsóCUSTOMER Benefits
Consolidation (combining shipments from multiple sources into one shipment)
helps save shipping costs since shipping rates per pound decline with an
increase in overall weight. Separate shipments are charged based on the weight
of each shipment but a consolidated shipment is charged based on the weight of
the combined packages.
Most, if not all, forwarding services charge based on the original
packaging. This is necessary in order to quote shipping costs up front.
Repacking may help the customer in that there are fewer packages to account for
but the real benefactor is the forwarding company who pays for shipping based on
the repackaged (smaller) shipment. The difference may not be much if actual
weight is used for shipping calculations. But if dimensional weight is used,
savings to the forwarding service can be very large (see What is Dimensional
> High Volume Shipping
RatesóBoth CUSTOMER and FORWARDING SERVICE Benefit
The forwarding service will sign contracts with the shipping companies based
on very high volumes. This will give them extremely good rates, some of which
they will pass on to their customers. Some portion of the discounts will likely
be a source of revenue for the forwarding service.
NOTE: When using forwarding services, the bottom line shipping costs may be higher or lower than those
charged by U.S. companies who ship directly to international customers.
Different shipping locations can give completely different results. It's
up to you, the customer, to compare costs.
What is dimensional
If you look at shipping from the shipping company's perspective, you will
realize that they have to pay for space on an airplane to get your packages
delivered to you. Generally, weight is used as the indicator of how much you
will pay. However, a package may be very large and take up a great amount of
space without weighing much at all. For this reason, "dimensional weight" was
created as a way to calculate a volume-based "weight." The bottom line is that
the weight used for calculating your shipping costs is either the actual
weight or dimensional weight (DIM), whichever is greater.
Dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying the length by width by height
(to calculate the volume) and then dividing by a dimensional factor, typically 139 for
international packages originating in the U.S. For example, a box weighing 37
lbs with dimensions of 56" length by 31" width by 25" height would be considered
313 lbs since the dimensional weight (56 x 31 x 25 / 139 = 312.2, rounded up to
313 lbs) is greater than the actual weight (37 lbs). In this case, reducing
the box size would decrease the cost of shipping and changing the actual weight
will make no difference as long as it is under 313 lbs.
In the example above, if we also had a separate 12 lb box, it could be
essentially shipped for free if placed inside the larger 37 lb box. The
resulting single-box shipment would weight 49 lbs (12 lbs plus 37 lbs) but still
be charged at 313 lbs DIM.
Some Popular Forwarding Services
Here are some forwarding services that seem to be popular and legitimate,
without excessive complaints:
Bongo International (bongous.com)
NOTE: JMI Telescopes does not recommend nor guarantee any particular
forwarding service. When doing your research, be sure to check their
pricing structure and identify all fees. If most services are free, then
expect higher shipping charges or hidden fees. Every viable company has to
make money in order to stay in business.
Understanding dimensional weight and forwarding services will give you the
information to make an informed decision. JMI Telescopes ships directly to
most countries. Therefore, forwarding service companies are not necessary
but you may benefit from using them. In most cases, all you will need to
do is register with one of the services and receive their address and your
customer code (entered as part of the address) which you will give to us when ordering.
The JMI Team